Will, will or will

For this post, week 9 in #52ancestors, I had to decide:

  • Will I research a relative named Will or William?
  • Will I look at a will from one of my relatives?
  • Or will I research a relative who was willing to do more than most?

My decision was to check out the wills of some of my relatives. We are very lucky here in Tasmania that the wills of many people are found online at the LINC Tasmanian names index.

What did I learn from these wills?

My grandmother Hannah ENGLAND had bequeathed 25 pound to each of her grandchildren when they attained the age of 16.

My grandfather Henry Lewis ENGLAND bequeathed his piano to me. I remember as a child learning and practicing those scales and even now, after many years of not using the piano, I can still play most of Fur Elise from memory.

It looks like my great great grandparents John and Annie DAVEY did not leave wills so the Supreme Court appointed some of their children to make an inventory and then to sell the goods and chattels and hand the money to the court to pay costs. I am not very good at reading all that legalese though so it might mean something else entirely.

My great great grandfather Francis COLGRAVE left everything to his two youngest sons, presumably as the older sons already had their own properties and the older sisters were all married with their own families.

I can’t find any more wills of my direct relatives but one of my indirect relatives (sister of my great great grandmother Caroline Chandler nee Bryant) named Esther Julia WINTER left many instructions on who was to receive what in her will.

Readers: What is the most interesting will you have read in your family or from collateral kin?




Week 8 in the #52ancestors challenge is looking at heirlooms. I didn’t really think I had anything handed down to me from my grandparents but after chatting to my mum who has been in hospital and rehab over the last three months, I found out about these pieces of carnival glass that were from her parents. I actually thought a couple of pieces were from my father’s mother but maybe I was wrong about that.

I can’t find any makers marks on them but they all seem to be marigold colour.  The vases look like they are swung – started as a tumbler then stretched or swung while still hot. I found a website about carnival glass but as many manufacturers used the same patterns and colours it can be hard to distinguish who made what, especially if no makers marks.

The large basket or bowl in the second image has ball feet on it, but I have noticed some large cracks through the base probably when it has been put down on a table. This is extremely heavy which might have also caused cracks when put on a table.

One of the vases is a lot heavier than the other and both have different patterns.

Northwood glass usually has a makers mark, but Fenton glass only from the 1970s. These are probably the two companies my glass came from as far as I can work out.

Readers: Do any of you know how to easily check carnival glass to work out who made it, what pattern it is and when was it made?




This week for #52ancestors, I decided to check my database to find someone born in the 1800s on Valentine’s Day 14 February. I could only find one person born on Valentine’s Day but that was in 1981 which is too recent for me to write about and research.

But I did find William Demingo SMITH born 16 February 1883 and only surviving till 16 September 1885.

William was the fourth child born to Captain William SMITH and Sarah Ann TEDMAN. He had an older brother Thomas Alexander (Albert) Smith born in 1880. These two young chaps did not survive infancy. William and Sarah had 10 children in total and 7 surviving till adulthood.

At this time, Captain William Smith was master of the whaling ship Marie Laure, based in Hobart and often calling in to Recherche Bay where his family lived near Cockle Creek. This is one of the most southern towns in Tasmania and in the 1870s and 1880s would have been a wild area to live in. There had been a convict station nearby at Southport and the main occupations were sawyers and whalers.

In September 1885, the two young brothers went down suddenly with diarrhoea. Their deaths on the 15th and 16th September were registered by Henry John Daldy, the coroner at Franklin on 20 September. But an interested person naming himself Recherche, wrote to the local Hobart paper The Mercury and had a piece printed on 29 September 1885.






Favourite name

I don’t really have any favourite names among my ancestors because many of them are William, John, George, Hannah, Martha etc.

But I have always wanted to know where my great grandmother got her name from.

Julia Charlotte Chandler

Julia was born in Tasmania on 1 October 1860 to parents William CHANDLER and Caroline BRYANT. She married Henry Lewis ENGLAND

Naming patterns were often used so who were the mothers of William and Caroline?

I have no idea of William’s mother – need to do more research on this. But Caroline’s mother is Charlotte BRYANT. OK we have part of Julia’s name accounted for. Now to find out who the Julia comes from.

Possibly someone important in Caroline’s life – perhaps a sister or friend from back in England?

Looking on the marriage certificate for Caroline, the witnesses are RG Winter and Emma Mains? Who could these people be? They weren’t mentioned on the other marriages so would have to be friends rather than church clerks etc.

I decided to check any Tasmanian wills for an RG Winter or any Winter with the name Julia included to see if there was any reference to my Caroline.

There it was.

Robert George Winter had a wife Esther Julia Winter and some of the witnesses to his will had the surname Chandler. I could be getting close. Could Esther Julia be Caroline’s sister?

Esther Julia WINTER was bequeathing her worldly goods and chattels to her sister Caroline Chandler. She also mentioned the names of nieces who she gave particular workboxes and vases to – these were all relatives of my Julia Charlotte England nee Chandler.

I now know where her name came from:

Julia after Caroline’s sister who also arrived in Tasmania as a married woman in the 1850s

Charlotte after Caroline’s mother



So far behind

Wait for me!

Corine Bliek via Compfight

I began the #52ancestors challenge with a great determination to finish it. But looking back I have only done the first few; I need to catch up. I want to do a good job with each week so I am not going to rush it.

I have had an excuse though – since early February, my mother has spent more time in hospital than out of it, so there were many doctors appointments and running my father back and forward to the hospital to cope with as well as a genealogical trip to Sydney and a holiday in Bright, Victoria.  In a couple of weeks I will be heading off to Cape York with limited internet capabilities.

So to remind myself and my readers here are the prompts set out by Amy Johnson Crow, a genealogist from USA.

As I write a post, I will include the surnames mentioned in the post as well as put a link to the actual post. So this post will be continually  updated.

  1. Start
  2. Favourite photo – 4 generations Colgrave, Davey, England, Phillips
  3. Longevity – Chandler, Bryant
  4. Invite to dinner – Bryant, Chandler, England, Jackson
  5. In the census – John Davey
  6. Favourite name – Julia Charlotte Chandler
  7. Valentine – William Demingo Smith
  8. Heirloom – carnival glass
  9. Where there’s a will – checked out wills of direct relatives
  10. Strong woman
  11. Lucky
  12. Misfortune
  13. The old Homestead
  14. Maiden aunt
  15. Taxes
  16. Storms
  17. Cemetery
  18. Close up
  19. Mother’s Day


Congress Day 2


Suzy Hazelwood via Compfight

Another long day but very worthwhile. No fast food for breakfast instead fruit salad with yoghurt and some coffee from the cafeteria at the conference centre. Earlier start today with announcements then half an hour from one of the sponsors, Ancestry. Looks like there will be some new ideas coming through with both DNA and the site itself.

Plenary session: Just three generations with Judy Russell
Judy spoke about how important it is to tell the stories in the family but the stories need to be accurate and proven. Otherwise stories from families will be lost within three generations.  I have no idea of my maternal grandmother’s favourite book.

She suggested we follow the genealogical proof standards

  1. Reasonably exhaustive search
  2. Complete source citations
  3. Analysis and correlation of evidence
  4. Resolution of conflicts in data
  5. Soundly reasoned written conclusion

Since completing the UTAS course, I am certainly following these steps in greater depth and starting to write the story of just one person at a time instead of looking at lots. But can be hard to get the emotions from people past in stories, so it is very important to gather what you can now while the elders in the family are still alive and can pass on those stories to you.

Poor Law in England and Wales with Paul Blake

I knew a bit about poor law and workhouses from researching some of my convicts but learnt a lot from this session. Mainly reasons why settlement places could change from the place where the poor person was born. I did not know about the apprenticeship being a reason to change settlement place. I was amazed at the amount of records available but many of these are at the local government record offices so would involve a trip to England or hire a researcher. Which one do you think I would prefer?

Uncovering your Irish Roots with Pauleen Cass

I think we can all agree that research in Ireland can be difficult but Pauleen says to make sure you have researched everything in Australia first as there might be subtle clues in obituaries or wedding certificates and so on that could lead you closer to the townland or parish your relatives came from in Ireland. Once you have as much as you can from Australia, there are more resources coming online for Ireland every day.

Here are three sites I use:  Irish GenealogyRoots Ireland and Irish Genealogy toolkit

Pauleen also mentioned that the blog of John Grenham was worth following as he mentions new records as they become available.


The second Plenary session was held after lunch and was by Angela Phippen on Oops! I wish I had checked the original

This was looking at the book called The Letters of Rachel Henning which had been published by the Bulletin as well as multiple runs by other printers. It was only when Angela looked at the original letters that she saw what had been edited before being used in the printed versions. The unedited version told a totally different story about the Henning and Hedgland families.

Google .. more than just a search with Michelle Patient

I use most of those Google tools mentioned in this session but I know I should make more use of newspapers and books. The one tool I have not used is Keep, but as that is relatively new, I have an excuse. I love using Google docs for collaboration around the world such as all the participants in the student blogging challenge I run twice a year. I think being a globally connected teacher for many years has helped.

My last session for the day was with Kerry Farmer DNA a modern tool to solve historical puzzles

I am only just getting into using DNA but I understood most of what was mentioned in this session. I learnt more about using X DNA but not sure if this will help with dad’s side of the tree. Need to make more use of the fan template for X DNA but I use the Shared cM Project often.



Congress day 1

UTAS DipFamHist at Congress 2018

Long day starting with a 20 minute walk to breakfast at a fast food place. All this walking to and from Congress is going to keep me fit.

Picked up my bag of goodies, including the important program. Planned my day using the booklet rather than fiddling around with the ipad. Headed to Cockle Bay Room where all the sessions I wanted to attend were going to be held.

A great day of family history also included our photo session on the steps of the International Conference Centre for the UTAS contingent, Sorry a few missed out but Lis is going to photoshop them in at a later date.

Sessions I attended today

Tarting up my blog with Jill Ball @geniaus

I felt my family history blog was doing quite well except I don’t have a header relating to my blog title.  It can be very difficult to find headers that are creative commons relating to the purpose of my blog. Might need to do a bit more research on this – would love to find one with old time ships from the early 1800s sailing across the oceans.

My navigation bar helps with things that wont change such as how to comment, reason for the blog and a bit about me. The sources from the Diploma of  Family History may be added to by either me or through comments from my readers.

My readers can use the tags or categories or archives to find posts relating to their interests but maybe I need to include a basic search widget. I have also needed to add one of these to my student blogging challenge blog.

My audience for my blog are mainly family or those students who have taken part in the UTAS Diploma of Family History. I advertise the new posts in the relevant Facebook groups for DipFamHist but rarely use Twitter or Pinterest, so I haven’t included any social media links on the blog.

Thanks Jill for a great session

Searching at the NAA with Judith Paterson, Rachel Cullen and Paivi Lindsay

I am so used to just doing a record search or passenger search that I may have missed other records held at the National Archives Australia. We learnt about how records were categorized and how knowing an agency or government department where your records might be, can help you find those unusual resources. Using advanced search and then searching by agency, series and items rather than a general name search. Might need to see if I can find more about my step grandfather Mikolaj Hrydziuszko other than his naturalization certificate.

Loved the way they used an example of one person and showed how they found documents as well as audio visuals and images relating to their research person.

Traversing TROVE with Cheney Brew

This was interesting in that I usually only use the newspapers in Trove but there are so many other records held at the National Library of Australia that can be accessed through Trove. Might need to check out some of their other sources. The other UTAS students sitting near me when we saw the video made about one of the research people, said it was like the annotated maps we did for the Diploma.

Convict records in VDL, NSW and WA with Dianne Snowden

Dianne did  a great job summarising all the convict records in these three states. As a convict researcher, you need to know the name of your convict, ship he came on and when and where he was sent to as there are differing records in each of the three states. One person in the audience was lucky enough to have a convict from each state –  Jacqui Brock from our UTAS group.

Many convict records are now appearing on Ancestry and FamilySearch but remember to check the National Library of Australia where they have links to convict records around Australia.


Ready for Congress 2018

New Titles

Melinda Stuart via Compfight

What is Congress 2018 and what does it have to do with family history?

Every three years, congress is held somewhere within Australia. It is a chance for Australian genealogists to go to a great conference, make connections, give out business cards, maybe meet some rellies also interested in family history and most importantly, go to some presentations on all things genealogy. All conferences also have an exhibitors area where often freebies are given away.

So looking at the program, lots of DNA related sessions, researching poor law in England, Irish genealogy as well as typically Aussie research using our repositories like National Library Australia and National Archives Australia.  So far I don’t think I have any sessions overlapping.

  • Dianne Snowden is presenting on convicts and becoming a professional genealogist. Think I might attend these.
  • Jill Ball @geniaus presenting on tarting up your geneablog and also on free tools for genealogy. I will be going to these sessions.
  • Might also attend some DNA sessions by Helen Smith.
  • Poor law, Irish genealogy and using Trove well look interesting as well.

Will write some more posts throughout the conference.

Readers: What type of session would you like to attend at a genealogy conference? What questions would you have about your topic?

Some more great blog posts

While I am tidying up the links on the sidebar and moving the #52ancestors to a new page in the header area, I have come across some great posts. Here are ten I found interesting:

BarbaraG had some great heirloom glasses as in those you wear on your nose

Belinda solved some mysteries from the census

Brenda had great memories of her Valentine

Celia had some unusual names in her family

Charlene had some unusual spellings in the census

Dan looks at naming patterns for surnames

Darlene thinks about romance

Debbie had an unusual heirloom

Denise tells story of a water pitcher

Erin did some statistical work for longevity

Readers: When you have been visiting blogs for the #52ancestors challenge, have you found an interesting post? Perhaps leave a comment and include the link to the post you enjoyed?

John Davey – but which one?

As soon as I saw this prompt from #52ancestors, I knew who this post was going to be about.

Two groups of people arrived in Van Diemens Land in the 1800s – convicts and free settlers which included military. The government in Great Britain at that time was great for record keeping, at least for the convicts. From the time of their trial, through transportation, their offences, who they worked for, their freedom and any offences after freedom.

But it was a different story for the free settlers – you will get a ship passenger record, BDM records then if they did something worth recording it might be in a newspaper.

So the background to my John Davey and how the census fits into the story.

Like all good genealogists, you always start with yourself and work backwards generation by generation. My maternal grandmother was a Davey, her father George Davey and his father John Davey – my problem free settler.

John Davey died aged 55 on 26 December 1888 of jaundice.[1] He left no will but his wife Annie Davey (nee Dixon) took on the administration of his estate and chattels etc. In her letter to the Supreme Court of Tasmania, she believed that the cost of his estate did not exceed 687 pounds. Two of her sons, George and William John, helped organize an inventory of the property of her deceased husband.[2]

John Davey and Annie Dixon were married at the Manse at Evandale, Tasmania on 18 July 1859. John was a bachelor aged 26 while Anne was a spinster aged 18. Witnesses to the marriage were Hannah Dixon and William Costley.[3]

Over the next 29 years until John died, the couple raised seven sons and five daughters to adulthood. They lived in English Town, near Evandale, Tasmania. The photos show the house and the newspapered walls inside the house as taken in 1987. At least two generations lived in this house including my grandmother.


So far we have a death record showing John born around 1833, a marriage record also showing born around 1833 but we don’t have a birth record anywhere. My cousins in New Zealand have a birthday book owned originally by Hannah Selina Davey, daughter of John and in it is mentioned the date 21 January 1834 as the birth of John. But how to prove this and where was John born?

There was no marriage permission found in the Tasmanian Archives and Heritage Office records so neither John nor Anne were convicts at the time of their marriage.  With the last Tasmanian convicts arriving in 1853 when John would have been about 20 and the shortest sentence being 7 years, this means if John had been a convict he would have arrived in the 1850s. Searching the records, no John appears. Hence he must have been a free settler or born in Tasmania.

Next I searched the arrivals index for John Davey or Davy – 3 were there – one in 1833 so I could rule him out, one in 1855 and the other Davy in 1856. As my John had always used an ‘e’ in his surname, I looked into this person arriving in 1855 as my great great grandfather.

This John was born in Devon, England. He was brought out to Tasmania as a farm servant to George Meredith on the East Coast of Tasmania.  John was Church of England and could read and write. He arrived in Hobart Town on 13 February 1855 on board ‘Wanderer‘.[4]  John was occasionally mentioned in the ‘Meredith papers’ which are housed in the State Library Archives in Hobart.  He was recorded last at ‘Cambria‘ in January 1857.  His wages at this time were 7 pounds and 10 shillings per quarter.[5]

This is where the census now comes into my story.

Looking at the 1851 English Census there were over 50 possible John Davey born around 1834. This did not include any name variations. How was I going to narrow it down? I began this research back in 1990 while on holiday in England and spent hours at the Devon Record Office checking out marriages and deaths between 1851 and 1855 when John came to Tasmania. This was mainly using microfilm, microfiche and books. Since that visit and using online records, I have narrowed it to a possible 8.

I still have more research to really verify my John Davey BUT:

Four are sons of a family, one is a nephew and three are servants – a farm servant, a house servant and an ag lab.

On the shipping record, my John was a farm servant – so maybe I have narrowed it down to one now.

This John Davey who was a farm servant was aged 17 in the 1851 census. His birth place was Collumpton, Devon. He was working for Humphrey Pitts at Garlanshayes, Tiverton, Devon.[6]

Maybe the modern technology of DNA will help me narrow my search even further. My mother has two pages of matches with Devon in the birth location but with the surname of Davey in the tree, only 8 matches and I already know where they fit on my tree. Maybe when more people add their trees, I might find that elusive John Davey in Devon.


[1] Death records, RGD35/1/57 no 227, Tasmanian Names Index

[2] Wills, AD961/1/7/1599 p 665, Tasmanian Names Index

[3] Marriage records, RGD37/1/18 no 712, Tasmanian Names Index

[4] Shipping records, CB7/12/1/3 Book4 pp 152/153, Tasmanian Names Index

[5] Meredith papers,  NS 123/1/69,  TAHO

[6] 1851 English census, HO/107/1888, Folio 138, page 4 FHL film:0221038

Readers: How have you found the records of free settlers compared to convicts in your family? How has a census or muster or electoral roll helped in your research?